Deco’s Special Batchoy with prewar pandesal*

A delectable batchoy noodle dish.

theLOOP north negros route This is the 12th installment of the Luzon – Visayas – Luzon Loop series. Click the image on the right to check out the rest of the posts.

“Its sahog… are plentiful and its broth very delectable.” This is the best batchoy I have ever tasted! I silently exclaimed mindful of the other customers in the airconditioned branch of Deco’s in La Paz, Iloilo. It must be the hunger and weariness of lugging my things while walking a good distance in downtown Iloilo City. Bernie, who met me at the pier took me here when I said that I want to have a good batchoy in La Paz. Its sahog of entrails, chicharon and scallions are plentiful and its broth very delectable.

There is a small debate, I was told, about the first batchoy in La Paz, Iloilo. There are two contenders: Ted’s and Deco. Both started out as a small eatery in the 30’s. However, Bernie said that the latter is the original. Ted’s has been transformed into a franchise that can now be found in major malls in the country. As for Deco’s, the rights and recipe were bought and developed by Edgar Sia II, the successful young businessman who also owns the Mang Inasal franchise.

Deco’s Batchoy’s prewar pandesal

Looking at the menu, I was a bit intrigued with one item: prewar pandesal (from the Spanish pan de sal, salted bread, a common breakfast staple). We ordered four and when it was placed at our table, I was amused. It is small and compared with the regular pandesal, its not light but very compact. The taste, though, is still the same.

How big the prewar pandesal is.

Despite it’s size, its very filling. Just dip it in the broth and enjoy your noodles. The special batchoy costs P50 (a little over $1) while the prewar pandesal is P1.50 (3 cents).

With Deco’s now starting to be franchised, it will just be a few months that one can already sample this noodle dish at the malls. By then, I just hope that the quality will not suffer.

NOTE: This is not a paid ad.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.


  1. lawstude
    April 9, 2008 @ 10:38

    If it tastes good as it looks, i’ll definitely got to have one.

  2. Sidney
    April 9, 2008 @ 19:17

    Be the first to franchise one in Manila!
    There is still a little space for rent in Mall of Asia! 😉
    Estan’s Original Batchoy with prewar pandesal!
    I will be your “suki”! 😉

  3. estan
    April 9, 2008 @ 21:15

    lawstude, if you get the chance, you should.

    sidney, haha, if i’ll do that the owner might sue me. but really, you should try this one if you can.

  4. donG hO
    April 10, 2008 @ 8:02

    i love Iloilo’s batchoy. probably the best in the Philippines. I haven’t tried Deco’s yet but it looks really good at P50. that’s really cheap compared to the price here in Manila.

  5. cedsaid
    April 10, 2008 @ 17:48

    When I go to Iloilo I’ll be sure to get myself a nice, warm bowl of batchoy. And pre-war pandesals!

  6. estan
    April 10, 2008 @ 19:17

    you should try dong and ced. its good.

  7. dodong flores
    April 11, 2008 @ 10:18

    Hay… gimingaw na hinuon ko sa Iloilo…

    (I considered Iloilo my second home and I lived exactly in La Paz for quite sometime)

  8. Ferdz
    April 13, 2008 @ 9:56

    I tasted Ted’s and like it. Now I gotta taste this to compare! Hehe.

  9. Marcos C
    April 22, 2008 @ 5:42

    As an Ilonggo, I’ve made it an agenda before to find out which batchoy was the best tasting. Well, for me just like your experience, it is Deco’s. It’s because the taste is less meaty and sweeter as compared to Ted’s batchoy, which has its characteristic bowl of brimming meat.

    As to which Batchoy is original, it’s still a matter of debate but from what I’ve heard so far, it’s Teds. Deco’s is also into the franchise business, btw.

  10. dagsul
    May 14, 2008 @ 2:12

    If you invented something, why teach everyone and at the same time try to compete with them and claim that you were the first hehehe

    It was only after Mang Inasal bought Deco’s that they started claiming to be the first(kuno) Lapaz Batchoy. With my conversations to some very old people from Lapaz, Deco’s was a butcher and didn’t have his own batchoyan, not before some defunct/bankrupt manog batchoy sold his space at the old batchoy rows of Lapaz at the back of the public market. There are also stories told that Deco’s used to be suki of the oldtimer Ted’s. Deco’s first templador is a cousin of Ted’s wife. So for the tag of being the first? IMO its just one of Mang Inasal’s marketing strategy to position its newest acquisition.

    Ted’s never claimed he invented it but lets give em the credit for making the dish to what it is now and for making it famous.

  11. estan
    May 14, 2008 @ 8:08

    Dagsul, thank you for that very important information. At least, we know the background.

  12. dodong flores
    May 14, 2008 @ 16:22

    That’s quite an information from Dagsul. Very much appreciated…

  13. Concerned
    June 1, 2008 @ 14:37

    DAGSUL, may your jealous soul be purified. My warmest pity on your status right now.

  14. dagsul
    January 7, 2009 @ 12:05

    to concerned

    let’s just call a spade a spade and let’s just be fair. let’s not put the hardwork that somebody established to be taken advantage by someone who has the capability to bully others through marketing and propaganda.

    btw, even the relatives of Deco’s could not swallow the claim (FYI most of the guillergan’s are also manog batchoy – check Nitong’s batchoy – also a guillergan)

  15. Vlady G.
    February 6, 2009 @ 23:07

    for me the best Batchoy i’ved tasted is Karen’s! to compare it w/ the other Batchoys i’ve tried Karen’s is on top of my list, excuse to all Deco’s and Ted’s batchoy-lovers! you can try it yourself to taste the difference, after all they’re all batchoy! Located in Barotac Nuevo Iloilo (FYI: football capital of the Philippines) my hometown…ask and they’ll point to the place. Enjoy & savor the difference! Cheers!

  16. estan
    February 8, 2009 @ 20:07

    Vlady, thanx for that differing opinion. It’s not always that what is considered the best is liked by all. Everyone has his own favorite and you got yours 🙂

  17. estan
    February 8, 2009 @ 20:07

    By the way, Vlady, that tag of football capital of the Philippines is kind of interesting for me. thanx.

  18. Itik
    February 24, 2009 @ 9:02

    Linti ginapalaway mo ko hehehehe

    Nat’s, Ted’s, Deco’s, Nitong’s, Ben’s, Farmer’s, Batchoyan sa Super kag sa Central. Hidlaw na ako sa inyo…..

  19. Shannon @ Custom Travel Experience
    May 24, 2009 @ 0:49

    Very interesting dish and it’s seems very cheap too (USD 1???) Nothing for vegetarians here to see I suppose. Would love to try this, or perhaps just get the recipe for it 😀

  20. estan
    May 25, 2009 @ 17:24

    nothing beats eating the actual dish in its native place. 🙂

  21. solitaire boy
    October 20, 2009 @ 2:11

    if i’m not mistaken the very first branch of Ted’s old timer which is located at La Paz Public Market was the very exact place where it is now, eventhough the la Paz market itself was so much different now than what ir was before, same with Netong’s.only that Netong’s was not on an expansion or franchising venture for tnat is still on its humble location at the center of the market.for me they are the mecca of original La Paz batchoy.

  22. En route, Part 3: Batchoy almost left me broke | langyaw
    February 12, 2010 @ 9:35

    […] Batchoy at the corner near the city hall already closed shop, I went to Gaisano City where a Deco’s branch was located at the ground […]

  23. chan
    March 4, 2010 @ 19:08

    Actually, Deco’s claim is not new. Even before it was bought by a businessman and transformed into a modern fastfood joint, it was already claiming to have invented the dish. I remember seeing it featured on tv more than a decade ago, in Korina Sanchez’s show if I’m not mistaken. I think the new owner just took advantage of the claim to market his new batchoy business. But yes, even among the batchoy makers in Lapaz public market, i believe Ted’s batchoy is still known to be the original.

  24. George Walker
    July 20, 2010 @ 9:24

    Franchising business is good but some franchise needs some cold hard capital to start with.’*:

  25. Socket Set
    December 13, 2010 @ 15:11

    you can earn lots of money if you are into the franchising business. i would love to engage into this kind of business *”~

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